Demonstrating how important leverage is in factoring WPA, Daniel Palka was the game MVP with a .390 WPA, in spite of striking out in his first four at-bats. What mattered was Palka’s final at-bat, his two-out, two-run homer in the ninth, a play that clocked in at .486 WPA.
“I was jokingly saying earlier that I was just trying to make contact [after 4 Ks], but that’s really what I was doing,” Palka told the Tampa pool reporter postgame. “I just had to forget the first eight-ninths of the game and move on from there.”
Sunday marked the sixth time in since 1908 that a White Sox player, in this case Palka, has homered in a game in which he’s also struck out at least four times. The last to accomplish this “feat” was Alex Avila vs. the Detroit Tigers, on Sept. 5, 2016.
Avisaíl García has hit nine career home runs against the Rays in 108 career at-bats, an 8.3% rate.
García clocking two home runs in Sunday’s win marked the 14th time this season a White Sox player has had a game of multiple home runs. That’s the second-most in baseball, behind the New York Yankees (19).
With a six-inning, 46 game score effort today, James Shields once again was mediocre. But he is succeeding in his bare-minimum requirement on this poor White Sox team: Munching innings. Shields has now gone at least six innings in 17 of 20 (85%) starts since April 25.